New Year’s is a wonderful time, full of celebration and time spent with loved ones. An opportunity to reflect on the year past, and to look forward to the year ahead.
It is also the most dangerous day of the year to drive, due to the high number of drunk drivers on the road. Half of all fatal crashes on New Year’s involve a driver who has a blood-alcohol content of at least .08.
Pedestrians are also in danger. Statistics show that there are more pedestrian deaths on New Year’s than any other day, surpassing even Halloween.
To enter into the new year safely and responsibly, here are a few tips while you’re out enjoying the festivities and fireworks:
Don’t drive drunk. It’s that simple. If you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel of a car.
If you see something, say something. If you see someone who has been drinking get into their car, call the police. Also, don’t be afraid to report a suspected drunk driver. Here are a few signs that someone is driving drunk:
- Quick acceleration and deceleration
- Driving very slowly; less than 10 mph below the speed limit
- Unpredictable braking
- Inconsistent signaling
- Weaving or zig-zagging across the road, including drifting between lanes
- Nearly colliding with an object
- Delayed response to traffic signals
Designate a sober driver, or put your local cab company’s number in your phone. A cab costs next to nothing when compared to a $10,000 DUI. Don’t spend the new year in a jail cell.
If you’re throwing a party, keep your guests’ keys. This way, they’ll have to come to you and prove their sobriety before having their keys returned to them. This is a great way to ensure that your guests don’t leave drunk. If you can afford it, consider buying a breathalizer to be certain of their blood/alcohol content.
Drive slowly. Especially if you’re visiting a populated area, such as a city landmark with a fireworks display. The closer you get, the more pedestrians and drivers there will be. Remember that many of these pedestrians, and unfortunately drivers, will have been drinking. Pedestrians are often especially distracted by their friends and likely to be more drunk.
Put your phone in your pocket. Always on our list of important driving tips. Your friends can wait to hear how far out you are or how close you are to parking until you’ve actually turned the engine off. If you need directions, ask someone else in the car to look them up on their phone.
Communicate with others. Use your blinkers, brake well in advance, be purposeful and clear in your driving.
We hope these safety tips have been helpful. From all of us at Burkhart Insurance Agency, we wish you a very happy New Year’s!